Sport

Lancashire all-rounder Steven Croft raring to get stuck in and launch top-flight promotion bid

By Ross McLean

As the start of the English domestic cricket season edges closer, Lancashire’s Steven Croft is raring to go after excelling during the winter months in sunnier climates.

The Blackpool-born all-rounder has been playing a leading role for Hamilton-based Northern Knights in the HRV Cup – New Zealand’s domestic T20 competition.

And as he prepares to return home, the 28-year-old anticipates an important season ahead for the Red Rose as they bid to return to English domestic cricket’s top table.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to Old Trafford and getting stuck in with the Lancashire lads,” he said.

“This season is going to be quite exciting really. Old Trafford is looking great and we have a big job of getting out of Division Two.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m sure we are all really for it and we will give it our all.”

Croft received international recognition last season as he was called-up to the provisional 30-man England squad for the ICC World Twenty20 competition in Sri Lanka in September.

Despite remaining uncapped, the all-rounder continues to thrive in the shorter form of the game and made history by becoming the Knight’s highest run scorer in a T20 season.

Croft has played in New Zealand previously during the 2008/9 winter when he was the Auckland Aces’ overseas player, and admits to loving the experience Down Under.

“I have really enjoyed my time out here. The club have supported me and looked after me really well, and it’s been a great experience,” he added.

“New Zealand is a great country and I have also loved seeing different parts of the country.

“Training in between games has also been good, from the gym sessions to nets, it’s been fantastic.

Unfortunately, there was no silverware in the offing as despite getting off to a flying start, the Knights were unable to reach the knockout stages of the HRV competition.

Nevertheless, Croft believes his experience in New Zealand has been invaluable and will stand Lancashire in good stead ahead of the forthcoming campaign.

“We had a great start to the competition but didn’t finish strongly,” he said.

“But practising with players like James Foster and Blackcaps Tim Southee, Daniel Vettori, Daniel Flynn, Brad Watling, Kane Williamson and Scott Styris has been amazing.

“From trading skills to just having chats.”

Image courtesy of espncricinfo via YouTube, with thanks

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